Monday 29 January 2024

Macknight Crawfurd of Lauriston Castle

Thomas Macknight Crawfurd (1820-1909) was the son of William Macknight Crawfurd (1785-1855) and his wife Jane Crawford (1793-1833).  He inherited the Cartsburn Estate in Greenock after his father’s death in 1855 becoming the eighth Crawfurd of Cartsburn.  Thomas Macknight Crawfurd bought Lauriston Castle near Edinburgh in 1871.

Lauriston Castle

When Cartsburn House was demolished about the same time he bought Lauriston, he took various important architectural details from the building to Lauriston Castle to enhance that residence.  They can still be seen today.

Thomas Macknight Crawfurd was an officer in the 93rd Highlanders until 1842.  In 1847 at Garvald House, Peeblesshire, Thomas married Jane Cunningham Woddrop (1826-1879).  She was the daughter of John Allan Woddrop (1793-1846) of Dalmarnock and Ellsrickle, and his wife, Marion Hunter (1805-1855) (daughter of Robert Hunter of Kirkland, Ayrshire).

The couple were often in Greenock.  Thomas Macknight Crawfurd took a great deal of interest in local affairs, especially those connected with the east end of the town.  He was a JP for Renfrewshire and is said to have one of the most complete heraldic libraries in Great Britain.  He remained active in the Midlothian Volunteers.  Thomas and Jane Cunningham Woddrop had a daughter, Marion Woddrop Macknight Crawfurd (1854-1942).  A son, Thomas William Allan Macknight Crawfurd died at a young age.  Jane Cunningham Woddrop Crawfurd died in Edinburgh in 1879.  A memorial tablet in her memory was erected in the Old West Kirk in Greenock.  

The tablet, of Sicilian marble, was made by Greenock monumental sculptor, Francis Wood.  The tablet reads:-

"In loving remembrance of Jane Cunningham Woddrop only daughter of John Allan Woodrop of Dalmarnock and wife of Thomas Macknight Crawfurd of Cartsburn by whom this tablet is erected.  Born 12th December 1826. Died 26th December 1879.  Also the above Thomas Macknight Crawfurd.  Born 20th March 1820.  Died 21st November 1909."

Macknight Crawfurd sold Lauriston Castle in 1902.

In 1895 (at the age of 75) Thomas married Lilian Harriet Parkinson (1866-1935), eldest daughter of Thomas Tertius Parkinson of Prestbury, Gloucestershire.  They lived at Fullwood Park, Cheltenham.  Thomas Macknight Crawfurd died aged 89 in 1909 at Argyll Hall, Torquay. 

His widow sold Fullwood Park to the Ursuline nuns for use as a girls’ school.  Lilian died in 1935 in France.

Thomas Macknight Crawfurd was succeeded by his daughter Marion Woddrop Macknight Crawfurd.
Lauriston Street and Garvald Street in Greenock's east end were probably named after Crawfurd due to their association with the Macknight Crawfurd family.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Travels in Renfrewshire 1670

In about 1670, French traveller and cartographer, Albert Jouvinde Rocheford, visited Scotland and wrote a description of the places he visited as well as mapping them.  It gives a fascinating glimpse of Renfrewshire as he saw it at that time.  This is taken from a book published in Paris in 1672 and later published in The Antiquarian Repertory in 1804.  


The following is his account of his travels:-

"After having passed through Nieuwark (Newark) that is on the side of the gulf of Dunbriton, (Dumbarton) which lay on my left hand, to enter into a country surrounded almost on all sides by mountains, I descended into some very agreeable valleys, as Kemakoom (Kilmalcolm) etc.  From thence I followed a small river (White Cart) where the country grew a little better, to go to Paslet, (Paisley) on a river forded by a large bridge abutting to the castle, where there is a very spacious garden enclosed by thick walls of hewn stone.  It was once a rich abbey, as I discovered by a mitre and cross, that appeared half demolished, upon one of the gates of the castle which was the abbey house.  

Paisley Abbey

Those  who go from Krinock (Greenock) to Glasgo (Glasgow) pass from Kemakoom (Kilmacolm) by Reinfreu (Renfrew); but the way if sull of marshes, difficult to pass over, and where there is a boat which does not work on Sundays, according to the custom of England, as it happened when I was travelling that road; which caused me, in order to avoid these difficulties, to change my route, which was after Paislet (Paisley), to enter into a fine country upon the banks of the river Clyd (Clyde), which I followed to the suburbs of Glasgo, joined to the town by a large bridge.  This I passed before I could enter Glasgo".

Louis XIV of France

De Rochefort later became Treasurer to the King of France from 1675-1702 (Louis XIV).